Perfomance recording for small herds
One of the most common questions asked by seedstock breeders is 'what size herd do you need to obtain effective results from Breedplan?'
While there is no minimum herd size requirement for herds wishing to participate in Breeplan, the nature of the analysis means there are a number of additional considerations that small herds need to make to ensure the performance information they record for their animals can be analysed effectively by Breedplan.
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Understanding EBV accuracy
An important step when making selection decisions using Breedplan estimated breeding values (EBV) is the consideration of EBV accuracy. The following information provides a guide to understanding and utilising EBV accuracy in selection decisions.
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The importance of whole herd recording
The saying 'you only get out of something what you put into it' is particularly true of performance recording for genetic evaluation, in terms of both the volume and quality of data recorded.
Some breeders may choose to performance record only their ‘best animals’ which they plan to select as future sires or dams, or with the aim of bringing up the average EBVs of the herd. But only recording your ‘best’ calves won’t necessarily result in ‘better’ EBVs. Breeders should be aware that significant problems can arise from choosing to only performance record a subset of animals from a contemporary group. If performance records are provided for a subset of a calf drop, it provides Breedplan with an inaccurate picture of the average performance of the animals in that contemporary group which can result in EBVs which are biased.
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Exploiting EBVs to suit your system
An AHDB funded study has shown the financial impact that Hereford bulls with high EBVs for 400 day weight can have on herd performance. The results demonstrated that commercial beef producers could make significant financial gains by using sires with superior EBVs for growth, but they need to look carefully at their systems if they are to exploit these superior genetics in the most profitable manner.
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